Cigarette Smoking from Adolescence to Young Adulthood

Women's Developmental Trajectories and Associates Outcomes

Published in: Women's Health Issues, v. 16, no. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2006, p. 30-37

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Joan S. Tucker, Phyllis L. Ellickson, Maria Orlando Edelen, David J. Klein

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OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to compare 1,442 women with distinct developmental trajectories of smoking from ages 13-23 on important young adult outcomes at age 29 (e.g., education, income, mental and physical health, arrest history, drug and alcohol abuse), as well as early transitions to sexual intercourse, parenthood, and marriage. METHODS: Women were classified as Abstainers or into 1 of 5 trajectory classes for which they had the highest probability of membership: Stable Highs, Early Increasers, Late Increasers, Triers, and Decreasers. Regression analysis was used to model outcomes as a function of trajectory class membership. RESULTS: Abstainers and Triers generally had more favorable outcomes than Stable Highs and Early Increasers. Decreasers were more likely to graduate from college than Stable Highs and Early Increasers and had a lower arrest rate than Stable Highs. Women who increased their smoking from initial low levels (Late Increasers) generally had poorer young adult outcomes compared to Triers and Abstainers, but lower risk for early sex and early parenthood compared to Stable Highs and Early Increasers. CONCLUSIONS: Women with certain patterns of smoking from age 13-23 are at heightened risk for early transitions to sexual activity and parenthood, as well as health, behavioral, and socioeconomic problems during young adulthood.

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